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University of New England Delivers Cutting Edge Virtual Reality Nursing Education with Oxford Medical Simulation

Vlad Poptamas

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Photo source: une.edu
Reading Time: 2 minutes

 

The University of New England (UNE) is working with Oxford Medical Simulation (OMS) to deliver state-of-the-art virtual reality software to transform nursing education.

The immersive virtual reality platform supports nursing students at the UNE School of Nursing and Population Health in providing simulated patient care to advance clinical decision making and communication skills with other health care providers. This training allows nursing students to practice in true-to-life virtual scenarios without posing risk or harm to patients and families.

The technology is developed by Oxford Medical Simulation, an award-winning VR simulation company – based in Boston and London – and allows nursing student to practice treating acutely ill patients in a simulated, virtual environment. This optimizes skill development including clinical reasoning, decision making and patient/team communication, resulting in increased competence and confidence in managing complex care.

UNE’s Interprofessional Simulation and Innovation Center (ISIC) is committed to providing state of the art experiential learning opportunities to health professional students,” said Director of Clinical Simulation Dawne-Marie Dunbar, MSN/Ed., RN, CNE, CHSE. “With the OMS VR platform, we will be able to increase simulation capabilities that offer students access to complex patient care scenarios while optimizing time, space, and resources.”

This innovative technology allows UNE ISIC to engage students in expanded simulation-based experiences. Simulation refers to the use of simulated patients to practice delivery of acute patient care and is widely regarded as the most effective way of training health care professionals. Simulation is traditionally implemented with actors and/or manikins staged within a mock, realistic setting. However, high-fidelity simulation requires significant time, space, and budget. As a result students may only receive two-to-three simulation experiences per year. With virtual reality simulation, students are now able to practice simulated scenarios as often as needed.

“We’re delighted to be working with the University of New England to take nurse training to new heights. We developed OMS because we believe that training healthcare professionals in a flexible, zero-risk environment will transform patient care around the world. We all learn best from experience and the OMS system allows users at UNE to do just that – without putting patient’s lives at risk,” said Jack Pottle, MD, Chief Medical Officer of OMS.

The OMS system provides students access to libraries of nursing scenarios, supporting practice of care provision and clinical decision-making across a wide range of conditions such as sepsis, pneumonia, heart failure, and meningitis. Students enter the interactive virtual scenario using a VR headset and are greeted by a virtual mentor and their patient/family. Learner interaction with the patient mimics real-life engagement with a patient. Through this pedagogy (or experience), learners can examine the patient, ask questions, initiate treatment, and provide support/reassurance as they would in actual clinical practice. Every action the student takes is recorded and compared to best practice. Once the scenario is complete, the platform produces a comprehensive data analytics report providing the student with detailed feedback. This serves as a de-briefing tool to guide reflection as to what went well and what they need to improve on.

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Business

How an SSL certificate is important for small business and Google ranking

Alexandru Marginean

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Image by Tumisu from Pixabay
Reading Time: 3 minutes

Security is essential for any online business that handles confidential information. But encrypting your website using an SSL certificate can benefit you in other ways. There is evidence to suggest that encrypting your site with SSL can also improve your Google rankings. It’s standard practice now, and it’s a good idea — for both security and marketing reasons.

 

  • The Value of SSL Certificates:

Without encryption, web traffic passes through the internet as clear text. That means that anyone who is nosy or wants to capture sensitive data can see everything you’re sending — passwords, financial data, secret messages. To counteract this problem, website developers now add encryption in the form of SSL certificates. Using a protocol called secure socket layer (SSL) — or the later protocol known as transport layer security (TLS) — SSL certificates act as digital signatures that create trust relationships on the internet.

An SSL certificate uses the critical public infrastructure (PKI) to encrypt traffic between a website user and the server. This is especially important for financial institutions or sites that handle login details or monetary transactions. SSL certificates turn HTTP sites into HTTPS, and address internet security in three ways:

  • Authentication
  • Data integrity
  • Encryption

So, it’s clear that securing your website with an SSL certificate is a wise choice. But what does that have to do with Google search rankings?

 

  • The Google Algorithm:

Every time you enter search criteria into Google and press enter, the company instantly runs a computing process using a mathematical formula called an algorithm. This is a set of rules that helps the computer make decisions. An algorithm can be simple or complex, with hundreds of variables or only one. It tells the machines what calculations to make based on the inputs given.

How does Google algorithm work? Well, we don’t know a complete about it. They keep it secret, like Col. Sanders’ chicken recipe, or the formula for Coca-Cola. We can only make educated guesses about how Google’s algorithm behaves in the search process. What we do know, perhaps by trial, error, or observation, is that websites with SSL certificates rank better than those without them.

 

  • Google Pushes SSL:

On August 6, 2014, Google announced that it was making HTTPS — websites with SSL certificates — a big priority. “Security is a top priority for Google,” they wrote. And Google made all their web pages HTTPS by default. “That means that people using Search, Gmail and Drive, for example, automatically have a secure connection to Google.” The new push involved encouraging all other websites to do the same.

They called it “HTTPS Everywhere”, and in a video, two Google employees explain their campaign. Google encouraged the use of 2048-bit key SSL certificates, and they guided all the steps required to implement SSL certificates. They also changed their algorithm in the past.

 

  • How Do Sites with SSL Certificates Rank? 

According to W3Techs, as this article is written, HTTPS is in use in 56% of all websites. That number is trending upwards as more web developers add SSL certificates to their sites. The effect of SSL certificates on search engine optimization (SEO) is made clear in a 2016 article on the subject by Backlinko. They analyzed one million Google search results, and here is what they found about the use of SSL certificates:

“Although not a super-strong correlation, we did find that HTTPS correlated with higher rankings on Google’s first page.”

Because Google is so secretive with their algorithm, Backlinko had to “reverse engineer” the search engine process to find out what worked best. Their findings match the consensus of experts across the web on the matter: Thus, the use of SSL certificates offers moderate improvement in Google search rankings.

 

  • Reputational Advantage

The positive effects of securing your site with SSL/TLS goes beyond the technical aspects of SEO. It also brings a reputational benefit. Many internet users will avoid websites without the padlock symbol, indicating a secure website:

To drive home their insistence on the use of SSL certificates, Google changed its search box so that unsecure sites are stated to the left of the URL:

Users of secure websites know that they can transact business without worrying about some man-in-the-middle attack. This has more to do with whether people will use your site or move to other sites.

 

Conclusion:

It is clear now that the website holder should buy an SSL certificate and install it on your website. All other things being equal, the presence of an SSL certificate generally becomes a kind of “tie-breaker” rather than a significant Google ranking factor. But the decision to go with an SSL certificate doesn’t rest on rankings alone. Security, reputation, different business validation processes and rankings all contribute to the benefits associated with secure websites. As cybersecurity becomes more prominent around the world, more website owners will see the value of SSL certificates, and will finally take the necessary steps to secure their sites.

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Semafone’s Intelligence+ empowers contact centres with actionable payment transaction analytics

Vlad Poptamas

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Photo source: aithority.com
Reading Time: 2 minutes

 

Semafone®, the leading provider of data security and multi-channel compliance solutions for call and contact centres, today announced Intelligence+, a real-time data analytics offering, integrated into its award-winning and patented telephone payments solution – Cardprotect Voice+.

Intelligence+ ensures that Cardprotect Voice+ customers have access to meaningful real-time data from calls and payment transactions as they occur across the contact centre. With advanced analytical capabilities beyond those of standard business intelligence tools, Intelligence+ provides customers with valuable and deeper insights into their payments platform performance. Customers can elect to receive all their raw data from the Cardprotect Voice+ platform to define and run data reports over specific durations, from 24 hours, to 90 days and beyond, or any time period in between. This functionality enables customers to add the data to their own database management system (DBMS) and completely customise reports, with full flexibility to change the appearance and reporting periods.

“Today, data is the fuel that organisations need to be successful, and that is particularly true for the contact centre,” said Gary E. Barnett, chief executive officer, Semafone. “With Intelligence+, customers can see their contact centre call activity on our Cardprotect Voice+ platform, and quickly turn that data into meaningful, actionable insights that improve call centre performance, all while ensuring secure, compliant and seamless payment transactions.”

Intelligence+ is compliant with industry regulations such as the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS), the European Union General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), HITRUST standards, and the upcoming California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA). Strict compliance with these industry regulations and standards ensures better protection of consumers’ personally identifiable information (PII), significantly reducing an organisation’s risk of a brand-damaging data breach, while providing a frictionless agent and customer experience.

With Intelligence+, customers gain the following key benefits:

  • The ability to query data, develop and generate a standard set of reports to help inform contact centre management on business strategy and where to maximise resources.
  • Better call management insights – including the ability to view the percentage of successful payment transaction calls at particular times of the day, empowering sales and marketing campaign managers with accurate information on the optimal times for running marketing and/or debt collection campaigns with a payment call-to-action.
  • The ability to import raw data into the customer’s business analytics system of choice, for integrated reporting with any existing data.
  • Fully customisable appearance of dashboards to fit a customer’s brand specifications.
  • Insights into average handling times (AHTs) to improve call duration and efficiency.
  • Insights into first call resolution to aid in reducing call transfers.

With actionable, real-time data, Intelligence+ enables contact centre managers, as well as sales and marketing campaign managers, to improve business success, provide a better working environment for agents, reduce agent turnover and increase customer satisfaction with a positive brand experience.

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Cannabis

Cannabis Can Treat Epileptic Seizures

Alexandru Marginean

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Photo by Get Budding on Unsplash
Reading Time: 3 minutes

Cannabis has been used for millennia to treat many conditions. It has long been known that cannabis can help with pain, depression, and was even used in ancient China as an anesthetic for surgery.

It has also been recognized millennia ago as a potential treatment for epilepsy. However, it wasn’t until recently that we have had the scientific studies to back those beliefs up.

It all began with a girl named Charlotte Figi. Charlotte has a rare form of epilepsy known as Dravet Syndrome. At just three months old, Charlotte had her first seizure. The seizure lasted half an hour. It only got worse from there; as Charlotte got older, the number and severity of her daily seizures increased. Some of the seizures lasted up to four hours.

By the time that Charlotte was two, she began showing signs of cognitive decline and displaying signs of autistic behavior. She had aggressive outbursts, would injure herself, and was reluctant to make eye contact. At one time, Charlotte was having up to three hundred grand mal seizures a week, despite being on heavy duty anti-seizure medications. At times, her heart stopped during the seizures. Charlotte’s parents and doctors eventually put her into a medically induced coma to allow her to recuperate. They even signed a do-not-resuscitate order in the event that something went horribly wrong.

Then, Charlotte’s grandfather started reading several success stories from parents who were using cannabis to treat their children’s seizures. Another boy with Dravet’s Syndrome and his story stood out. Charlotte’s doctors had said that they had done all they could. In desperation, her parents got a hold of some R4 cannabis extract oil for Charlotte. A miracle occurred. Charlotte went from 300 seizures a week to zero seizures during her first week of treatment. Seeing that the cannabis treatment was helping, Charlotte’s parents reached out to the Stanley Brothers, who run medical marijuana farms and dispensaries in Colorado. They created Charlotte’s Web, a hybrid strain of medical marijuana, which contained a 30:1 mixture of CBD to THC.

After Charlotte’s success story came a number of others. All from parents whose children were helped by Charlotte’s Web and other high-CBD cannabis treatments. Anecdotal stories are one thing, but is there scientific evidence? The answer to that is yes.

In 2016, Orrin Devinsky, a neurologist at New York University Langone Medical Center and colleagues across multiple research centers published the results from a study of a cannabis-based drug for treatment-resistant epilepsy in the journal Lancet Neurology. 162 patients were treated with an extract of 99% cannabidiol (CBD) and monitored them for 12 weeks. The treatment was given in conjunction with existing medications.

The results were more than promising. The treatment resulted in the reduction of motor seizures that was comparable to similar drugs. 2% of patients reported being seizure- free. The trial led by Devinsky was the most robust assessment of CBD’s effect on epilepsy. Unfortunately, these trials were open trials and had no controlled factors.

However, more recently, the Food and Drug Administration approved a highly purified oral preparation of CBD. In the open label expanded access programs as well as placebo-controlled trials, there was a significant improvement in seizure frequency when compared to the placebo patients with Dravet Syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome. The drug that has been approved by the FDA is the prescription medication known as Epidolex.

The results from the gold-standard studies of Epidolex were extremely promising. In the group receiving 20 mg of CBD twice daily, the occurrence of seizures dropped 41.9%. In those receiving the 10 mg dose, seizures dropped by 37.2%. In the placebo group, seizures dropped by 17.2%. Like with all other medications, even treatment with CBD oil has its side effects. For the most part, the side effects are well tolerated and only a few patients experienced side effects serious enough to stop taking the medication. The most commonly reported side effects were sedation, decreased appetite, and diarrhea.

When it comes to the legality of CBD treatments, especially those not approved by the FDA, there is good news. The passage of the 2018 Farm Bill hemp and hemp-derived substances are exempt from the Controlled Substances Act. This includes CBD oil, which can be purchased at places like TheAmsterdam. Even though it has been legalized, it is important that any parent or patient speak with their doctors before beginning any treatment.

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